Passion of Jesus III – Matthew 26:31-75

Aug. 19, 2012
INTRODUCTION
Jesus’ Prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35
Prayer and slumber in the garden of Gethsemane – vs. 36-46
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus – vs. 47-56
The High Priest tried before the High Priest – vs. 57-68
Peter’s Denials of Christ – vs. 69-75

I. Jesus’s prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35 four observations:
A. God often prepared Jesus for what was to come through the O.T. scriptures. Very likely that Jesus didn’t know this until He meditated on that scripture in Zechariah 13:7, and then the Father revealed to Him that all of His 12 disciples would flee when Jesus was arrested and tried.

B. While it is true the angry mob arrested Jesus and the Romans crucified Him, Jesus said His own Father was ultimately behind this – – that He would “strike down the Shepherd”. (vs. 31)
The same God that raised Him from the dead, led Him to the cross.
Isaiah puts it this way, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him putting Him to grief.” (53:10)

Jesus’s arrest, trial and crucifixion was not a tragic mistake due to His not being able to hire an attorney in time. It wasn’t due to His pushing the envelope too much. It was the necessary plan of God from the beginning of time.

C. While Jesus gave His disciples a dose of reality both of the Father’s intent towards His Son, and the impending scattering of the disciples, He left them with hope of His resurrection, and of their reuniting in Galilee. Hope that didn’t mean anything to them then; but was a huge encouragement to them later when they were able to connect the dots (vs. 31, 32)

D. This passage ends with Peter’s insistence that he would never deny Jesus no matter what the rest of them did; and the rest also maintained they would never deny Him either. (vs. 33-35)

II. Prayer and slumber in the garden of Gethsemane vs. 36-46 Several observations:
A. When Jesus prepared to go to the Garden of Gethsemane and cry out to God for mercy and strength, He longed for support. So He chose His top 3 disciples. Jesus expected Peter, James & John to join Him in prayer , but alas they could not. (vs. 37-46)

B. The principle: vs. 41 Continual watching and praying will not keep you from being tempted; but it will keep you from entering into the temptation. The key is “keeping” “continuing”, not letting your guard down. The good news is “the spirit is willing”. When watchful prayer is joined with that willingness that comes with our being born again, and having the Spirit of God residing within us – victory is assured.

C. The wrestling – vs. 39 & 42 – – No where does Jesus’s humanity show up more graphically than in this time of prayer and wrestling with the will of God. We know from that prophetic passage in Psalm 40 vs. 8 that Jesus said at one point to His heavenly Father, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” This was the rule of His earthly life. But taking the sin of the whole world upon his own shoulders and enduring the abuse and scorn and pulverizing, flesh tearing scourge or whipping that was to come, not to mention the agonizing crucifixion upon the cross, not to mention the possibility of somehow being separated or forsaken by His Father, whom He had never experienced a millisecond of separation from before – – this was more than He could reasonably handle, unless God somehow came through in that garden.

We know by the way from Luke’s account of His prayer time in the garden of gethsemane that the Father in response to His fervent prayers and willingness to submit if there was no other way – sent an angel to minister to Him.

III. The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus – vs. 47-56 (read it) Several Observations:
A. The large crowd or mob was armed to the teeth – led by none other than Judas himself. Evidently they expected resistance, but other than Peter – the other 10 disciples seemed more interested in flight than fight. (vs. 56)

B. And while their motive for flight was fear; Jesus quickly made it very clear that if defending Himself was an option, He would much rather have more than 72,000 supernaturally powerful angels helping Him, than 11 fearful men. (vs. 53)

C. I mentioned earlier that most likely God the Holy Spirit had illumined Zech. 13:7 to Jesus re: His suffering and the disciples’ scattering. Well in this passage Jesus again speaks to the role the scriptures played in His choosing to submit to this arrest and ensuing suffering rather than try to defend Himself by asking His heavenly Father for a dispatch of angels. And then finally in vs. 56 He lets His accusers and those who were arresting Him know that even though it was very cowardly for them to arrest Him now with an armed mob way out in the wilderness when every day during His ministry He would be right in their midst teaching in the temple – – while their actions were scandalous, God was using them to bring about His purpose of slaying His Son for our sins – just as the Scriptures which they knew, but didn’t know – predicted through the prophets.

IV. The High Priest tried before the high priest – Caiaphas – vs. 57-68 3 observations
A. This trial before Caiaphas was actually Jesus’s second of six trials. His first one was before Annas, which John tells us about in his gospel; We will read about His third trial by the Sanhedrin in private when we get to ch. 27. And then John covers His two different trials before Pilate. And Luke covers His trial before Herod. All were totally devoid of justice and the rule of law; but all were necessary for God’s justice to be satisfied through the end result.

B. Jesus saw no reason to defend Himself against the silly claims of the false witnesses. But perhaps because Caiaphas adjured Him by the Living God – Jesus did answer His question re: His divinity. Quoting Daniel 7:13 in part, Jesus not only answered in the affirmative, but also confronted Caiaphas with the reality that he would see Jesus front and center when He returned in all His power and glory at the end of time.

C. Many admirers of Jesus in modern society claim that Jesus never claimed to be God. But you would be hard pressed to explain what other claim could have so infuriated the high priest and his co-horts. In their mind – He obviously claimed to be God and thus their fury at Him.

V. Peter’s Denials of Christ – vs. 69-75 (read it)
A. Ch. 26 ends with Peter’s 3 denials – one after the other – – two of them in response to harmless servant girls.

B. But what I think is interesting about this story is one of the reasons perhaps Caiaphas & the Sanhedrin could not find a credible witness is Judas was no where to be found – probably because by then he was out either taking his life or preparing to do so. He could have repented, and I’m confident God would have forgiven him. But he didn’t. Suicide is not and never will be repentance.

Peter on the other hand failed His much loved Savior miserably – – after vowing before Him and the other 11 that He would never ever deny His Master – no matter what anyone else did. After the rooster crowed, Jesus’s prophecy re: his denial rang loudly in his ears; and the scripture says he went out and wept bitterly. But Peter knew His Master, and He knew even after such a dismal failure, there was still mercy with the Messiah.

Repentance is not just sorrow for our sin; Judas appeared to have that. It is also turning from our sin and turning back to our Savior to free us and cleanse us from our sin.

CONCLUSION

COMMUNION Matt. 26:26-28

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